Pearl Cotton & The Hometown Fabric Store

Posted by Susan Liane, The Smuggler's Daughter on 9/19/2015 to Sewing Projects
Ok back to the Japonesque TopÖ I finished the one I started a couple of weeks ago. I sewed the large because it fit the last time I sewed it. I probably should have used the medium, but oh well, it will work as a lightweight jacket. The pattern calls for hand stitching and I was certain that I would not do that. In fact, I tested out several of the decorative stitches on my Bernina. After testing the stitches, I felt like most of them would have distorted my lightweight fabric too much. So, in fact, I did go with hand stitching, just a simple running stitch with Pearl Cotton. 

I went to JoAnnís to buy embroidery floss or pearl cotton (perle cotton) and when I asked one of their staff if they carry pearl cotton, the young woman answered by pointing to the bolts of quilting cotton. Ok, I get it, you donít need an advanced degree in fiber arts to work part time at JoAnnís. But it does seem like they should know what pearl cotton is. ďA highly mercerized twisted, non-divisible, lustrous 100% cotton thread in a skein.Ē For anyone who is interested, pearl cotton is usually with the embroidery supplies. 

I first used pearl cotton when I was in a home economics class at San Clemente High School, learning to hand embroider decorative stitches, many years ago. Both Dollieís Fabrics and Mary Janeís Fabrics carried it - residents of that far more fancy place called "San Clemente" today would be very surprised to hear that there were two locally-owned fabric stores right on Del Mar. Two fabric stores right there with Samís Shoes, The Wardrobe, Whirl I Gig, Mr. Heartís Candy Store and The Coronet - all good hometown stores. 

The last time I was at JoAnnís I had asked another woman who worked there if she knew where the Vogue Pattern Magazine was kept in the store. This one pointed to the pattern table and told me that there is no such magazine, that Vogue just makes patterns. (OMG) When I found the magazine on my own, I brought her a copy, just for her info. She looked shocked. (End of bitch session.) 

There was a lot to be said for those hometown stores on Del Mar, back in the day. The people who worked in the fabric stores knew how to sew, embroider, needlepoint, etc. Both Dollie's and Mary Jane's were owned by women.

The leaf buttons came from my stash and I sewed them on with the same pearl cotton that I had bought at JoAnnís. I decided to forego the back pocket on this version of the Japonesque Top. Iím pleased with the overall result and I think it will look good with brown pants or a skirt. 

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The Conversation So Far
Martha Date 11/24/2015
I had forgotten all about the Japonesque. Cool jacket. what is the fabric?
Eileensews Date 12/1/2015
Your pearl cotton experience reminded me of the time when my mom was visiting me in my first house. I needed some drapes. We went to the Hancock fabrics and mom asked for monk's cloth. She was stunned that the person who worked in a fabric store did not know what it was. This was 20 years ago. We did find a bolt near the muslin and all was fine. Your top is lovely and interesting. The button / hand sewn stitching make it unique.
Susan Date 2/22/2016
Love the jacket! Laughing as I read this. I've had the same problem at Joann. I remember the fabric stores. Mom was a Home Ec teacher down here in San Diego and we journey all over to fabric stores. Didn't one of the fabric stores just close within the last 5 or so years? Just ordered some delightful fabric from your site.
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